Birders (or bird watchers) are people whose hobby is observing birds in the wild. Some birders like to add as many new birds as they can to their “life list”, whilst others are content to observe the local birds more closely. Some take photographs and others try to record bird calls. Some birders help in research, for example, by participating in bird surveys providing important information about the value of a particular area or habitat when it is threatened by a change in land use. Birding covers a wide range of possible activities, but we are all united by our love of wild birds and our determination to help conserve the environment so that they may prosper.
BOCA is always keen to encourage new birders of any age – you’re never too old (or too young) to start being interested in birds. However, if you are new to birding, it can be difficult to know where to go; if you do know where to go, how can you find out what to look for when you get there. How do you identify the birds that you see?
BOCA can help you – we have a wide network of branches which organise outings to local birding spots – and our friendly members will help you with bird identification. We also run coursesspecifically for newcomers.
You do not need much equipment to start birding – a good field guide and a reasonable pair of binoculars are the minimum. These may be obtained from the Blue Wren Gift Shop. We have a helpful leaflet to help you choose binoculars, and our staff are always willing to help. Many birders rely on their ears almost as much as their eyes, so learning a few calls with the help of this CDmay also be useful. As you get more experienced you may want to consider a scope and tripod for looking at distant birds, but many birders manage without these.
There are plenty of benefits in being a member, so why not join BOCA? For younger birders we have the Stickybeaks club, which has its own magazine for young members.
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